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Paper Gift Ideas for Your First Anniversary

Abby Slutsky has been married 34 wonderful years and has been the recipient and giver of many anniversary gifts.

Gift ideas to make anyone smile on their first anniversary

Gift ideas to make anyone smile on their first anniversary

Why Is Paper a Traditional Gift?

Paper, the traditional gift for a first anniversary, is based on the idea that marriage is durable yet fragile. Gifts made out of paper are special because they combine the fragility and durability at the core of most marriages.

It is hard to communicate regularly, be loving, and have a strong marriage; marriage includes problems and being sensitive to someone else's feelings. A simple sheet of paper can easily tear, crinkle, or become damaged—but with care, it can last indefinitely. Thus gifts of paper for a first anniversary are symbolic of qualities in a marriage.

Choose a paper first-anniversary gift and take care of the present; it will remain everlasting and give you joy.

A personalized romance novel is a great gift.

A personalized romance novel is a great gift.

Romantic Paper Gifts

As someone lucky enough to have a very romantic husband—perhaps, more romantic than his wife—I have been the recipient of several romantic anniversary gifts. Here are my favorite paper anniversary gifts:

Personalized Romance Novel

As a reader of romance novels, this is a gift that I occasionally whip out and reread for fun. Surprise your spouse with a personalized romance novel that includes you and your spouse as the main characters. Provide names of friends and relatives that you want to include in the story, and choose one of many plots for your personalized romance. It will be a tale to remember that shows thought and creativity. You can buy personalized novels from YourNovel or UStarNovel.

Buy a Star for Your Other Half

There is nothing quite as romantic as a walk under the stars. Imagine if you could look up and know that somewhere in the universe is a star named after your loved one. Looking up and trying to decide which little star is actually named for your spouse can feel special as the two of you search the sky together.

Several companies will let you name a star after your spouse. A beautiful certificate acknowledges the star, and your loved one will be able to enjoy it forever.

First Anniversary Messages

Although many people choose a traditional anniversary card with a romantic message someone else created, writing your own card or adding your own thoughts to a pre-printed card can make your message more thoughtful and romantic.

If you're having trouble thinking of what to write, start by thinking about the joys and happiness that filled the first year of marriage, then talk about your hopes for more of them in the coming years. Here are two ideas:

  • "It is hard to believe we have been married a year; I love that we get to spend a lifetime of happiness together."
  • "Marriage may not always be perfect, but the best part about it is being with you."

For more ideas, browse through anniversary and wedding cards. You are likely to find a line or sentiment that you can modify to make it into your own unique message.

Creating a bucket list journal together can inspire you and help you look forward to your future together.

Creating a bucket list journal together can inspire you and help you look forward to your future together.

Budget Gifts

No matter your budget, you can find a gift that lets your spouse know you love them. A gift reminds your spouse that your marriage is special and that you want to celebrate the milestone of your first anniversary.

Many newly married couples find that money is tight. Therefore, it is convenient that paper is a cheap material, so it may be easy to find an inexpensive, romantic anniversary gift that keeps within the paper theme.


If you make your own coupons, you can creatively customize some romantic activities or thoughtful acts that your spouse will like. Some ideas are breakfast in bed, intimacy at a moment’s notice, or a day of doing whatever your spouse wants.

If you are not creative enough to make your own coupons or just want a coupon that has a professional appearance, try ordering Love Voucher Coupons for Him or Her. The coupons are pale white and pink and are not in a book, so you can give your spouse as many as you want and save some for another time. The set includes 18 cards, and there is room to write a special message on each one if you like. One coupon is blank, so you can choose to give your spouse something that is unique to their preference.

A Bucket List Journal

It can be really fun for you and your spouse to plan for good times ahead. Write down your goals, places you want to visit, and other accomplishments that you hope to tackle and share in the years ahead. The journal can be an enjoyable way to think about the future, help you stay focused, and prepare for your dreams together. I recommend Our Bucket List: A Creative and Inspirational Journal for Ideas and Adventures for Couples, by Lux Reads.

Tickets to a special show or concert can make your first anniversary memorable.

Tickets to a special show or concert can make your first anniversary memorable.

Luxury Gifts

A first anniversary can be the first of many to come, so you may want to splurge on a luxurious gift while still keeping within the paper theme.

Plane Ticket or Night Away

Surprise your spouse with a plane ticket. Choose a romantic destination that the two of you want to visit, or take the honeymoon you could not afford when you were planning your wedding. If a full-fledged vacation is a little too pricy, modify the gift by giving them a paper confirmation of a night away at a nearby hotel.

Theatre or Concert Tickets

If your spouse loves the theatre or has a favorite band or singer they like, surprising them with theatre or concert tickets is a sure bet.

Deed to a Car

If your spouse is in the market for a new car, and you know what they would like, making the purchase and presenting them with the deed to the vehicle will be a first-anniversary gift they will never forget.

Keep in mind that if you do not know what your spouse wants, you may be better off selecting this gift together since they are likely to keep it for a long time and use it regularly. If choosing it together seems more appropriate, present a gift card for the car instead of the deed so that you can enjoy the process of car shopping together.

If your significant other likes jewelry, a locket with a photo or note inside is a wonderful present.

If your significant other likes jewelry, a locket with a photo or note inside is a wonderful present.

Wearable Paper Gifts

Although jewelry is typically made out of metal, stones, or pearls, you can find jewelry that is embellished with paper that, makes it perfect for a first-anniversary gift. Paper Anniversary by Anna sells cufflinks that can be customized with wedding vows or a song, or you can choose a set with pretty patterned paper in the interior.

Another option is to purchase a beautiful locket and place a small note saying "I love you" inside. Gifts by Anna offers pendants, cufflinks, and other jewelry that you can customize with a paper message. Enjoy your wedding vows, a song, or a heartfelt message on some of Anna’s creations. A gift of jewelry is a special keepsake that your spouse can wear for years.

Art lovers will appreciate a framed print, photo, or painting.

Art lovers will appreciate a framed print, photo, or painting.

Frameable Paper Gifts

If your spouse loves art, a first anniversary is a perfect time to get them a special picture to commemorate your day. Choose something together or select a painting or watercolor that you know they will like.

Purchase an ‘Intersection of Love’ photo print. This customized print of street names features your name, and your spouse’s on street signs that intersect. This is a beautiful keepsake that will remind you of your first anniversary forever.

Funny, Unique, and Clever Paper Gifts

Delight your partner by branching out with a creative present.


Make a list of all the funny experiences you and your spouse have shared. Have them framed or arrange them in a small book.


Try a unique twist on a floral arrangement by presenting your spouse with a bouquet of pretty paper flowers. Unlike traditional ones, they will last indefinitely. Life Size Forever Flowers are available in a variety of bouquets that feature tulips, sunflowers, tropical blooms, or white roses. These pop-up flowers arrive flat in a card and look like a real bouquet. Best of all, they do not require water and are cheaper than real flowers.


A paper map with personalized milestone pins can be customized with your and your spouse’s name. Use the milestone pins to identify places you want to go or destinations that are important to you.

Paper Gifts for Him

Not sure what to give your husband for your first anniversary? These ideas may help.

Tickets to a Sporting Event

If your husband has a favorite team and rarely attends a game, surprise him with tickets for your first anniversary. With careful planning ahead, you could even arrange to wish him a happy anniversary on the scoreboard.

Custom Photo Calendar

If your significant other works at an office inside or out of the house, a customized calendar featuring different monthly photos of your first year of marriage can be a great way to have them thinking of you all year long.

Magazine subscriptions are a great gift for those with specific passions and interests.

Magazine subscriptions are a great gift for those with specific passions and interests.

Paper Gifts for Her

These paper gifts for your wife are all safe bets.

Playing Cards

If your spouse loves playing cards, treat her to playing cards that will remind her of your love whenever she plays. Customize these beautiful playing cards with a favorite picture of the two of you. Make the gift more special by having your wedding date and names printed on the cards, too.

Magazine Subscription

No matter your spouse’s interest, you are bound to find a magazine she would like. Treat her to a subscription that can help her refine her cooking, browse the latest fashions, or keep her updated on her favorite sport. There are even magazines that specialize in a particular craft. You will have no trouble giving her a subscription that meets her interests.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Abby Slutsky